Before the 2020 NFL season, Tom Brady had already won six Super Bowls. A question always lingered over his head, however. Was he truly responsible for any of those championships, or did he simply benefit from Bill Belichick’s system? Brady answered this question once and for all by winning his seventh championship with his new head coach Bruce Arians.
As he stated in an interview on Good Morning America, he quite enjoyed his time away from Belichick.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick had a bitter separation
There is no greater combination between coach and player in the history of team sports than Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. In a span of 20 years, the duo completely transformed the fortunes of a once-moribund franchise and guided it to six Super Bowl titles.
In the last three years of the Brady/Belichick era, however, the once-unbreakable bond started to come apart. While there are many factors, the fracture may have started with Belichick’s attempt to find a successor for Brady. This started as far back as 2014, when the Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo. That experiment ended three years later, when New England traded him to the San Francisco 49ers.
There was a host of other microaggressions, such as Belichick banning Brady’s personal trainer and friend, from team premises. However, it’s most likely that Brady simply grew sick of year after year of Belichick’s “do your job”, “no days off” coaching style.
Tom Brady fires a subtle shot at Bill Belichick
Earlier this week, Tom Brady sat down with former Super Bowl foe Michael Strahan for an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America. At the time, Brady was on his usual post-Super Bowl trip to Walt Disney World, something which has become a bit of a habit for him.
At one point, Michael Strahan asked about the differences between Bill Belichick and Bruce Arians as coaches.
“He’s a great motivator — he’s got a great feel for the team — a great pulse for what’s going on in a locker room, great intuition, great evaluation of talent,” said Brady. “When you’re in one place for 20 years, you think that’s the only way, and I think when you go to a different place you realize, ‘wow — there’s another way that people do things.'”
Brady has flourished under Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay
Despite the friction between Brady and Belichick, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was willing to keep his quarterback in New England. Even after a disappointing exit from the 2019 playoffs, Kraft offered Brady a contract worth $30 million per season. Still, it wasn’t enough. Tom Brady simply wanted out of New England — and away from Belichick.
To the surprise of the football world, the six-time champion chose the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as his next destination. At the time, they hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2007. Still, with “quarterback whisperer” Bruce Arians as the head coach, there was always potential for success.
It took a while for Brady’s new bunch to flourish. After a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Buccaneers sat at 7-5 and were in danger of missing the playoffs completely. Late in the season, however, the Buccaneers finally got things together, winning their last four games to climb into the playoffs with the fifth seed in the NFC. They followed that with three straight playoff wins on the road, making the Buccaneers the first team in history to play a Super Bowl on its own home field.
With his 31-9 victory over those very same Chiefs, Tom Brady added a seventh Super Bowl ring to his collection.